MEDIA FAILURE TO RECOGNISE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NORTHERN GENERAL STRIKE IN TERMS OF CURRENT STORMONT CRISIS “BAFFLING”

Richard-BoydIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has said he will be joining a delegation of southern anti-austerity activists to participate in the NI ICTU organized general strike and protests, taking place tomorrow across Northern Ireland, against the austerity programme contained in the Stormont House agreement, recently signed by all political parties in the Northern assembly.

A People Before Profit delegation, including Deputy Boyd Barrett, will be leaving Dublin at 8.30am to join the protests in Belfast tomorrow, joining the feeder march from the Royal Victoria Hospital in west Belfast at 11am, and then marching to join a rally in Belfast City Centre, where feeder marches from all over Belfast will converge.

Deputy Boyd Barrett and the southern delegation of People Before Profit activists will be joining recently elected Belfast city councillor and Westminster general election candidate, Cllr Gerry Carroll, along with other People Before Profit activists from Belfast on tomorrow’s demonstration.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “The Stormont House agreement, which has been signed by all the parties represented in the Northern Assembly, is the northern version of the EU-IMF Troika memorandum implemented in the south over recent years. The agreement requires the axing of 20,000 public sector jobs, the sale of state assets and welfare cuts, and includes plans to cut corporation tax on the profits of big business. This is a text book austerity and neo-liberal agreement and will inflict the same sort of damage on ordinary people in the north as has been inflicted on the people of the south by the Troika and their domestic political allies.”

“The strikes and protests in the North tomorrow point to the urgent need to unite resistance to austerity, north and South of the border. We must not let the merchants of austerity inflict on the people of the north the same disastrous policies as have been inflicted on the people of the south. It will accelerate the race to the bottom for ordinary people throughout the island.”

“On the positive side the fact there will be massive anti-austerity mobilizations within one week of each other – North and South – with the general strike in the North tomorrow and then the national anti-water charges protest in Dublin on March 21st. This creates the possibility of catholic and protestant, north and south, uniting in a single political project of defeating austerity. We must grab this opportunity with both hands and build the maximum solidarity, north and south – creating the basis for defeating the twin evils of austerity and sectarianism in Ireland.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett added:

“I am totally baffled at the failure of media and political commentary in the south to make the connection between the general strike in the north and the current political crisis around the Stormont House Agreement.

The possible collapse of the northern assembly is being used as gun to the head of the people in the north to accept devastating austerity. This is exactly the same sort of blackmail as is being deployed against the people of Greece – “accept austerity or the world will fall around you”. This blackmail must be resisted in Ireland and in Greece, because the truth is: if the people of the north accept austerity, their world will around them -just as it did down here.”